PREVIEW GLASGOW JAZZ FESTIVAL
‘ ,1. l!
Kenny Mathieson looks at tribute concerts to Miles Davis and John Coltrane.
The Festival pays tribute to the two most inﬂuential names in post-Charlie Parker jazz in the course of two stellar concerts this year. The conjunction of Miles Davis. who died last year. and John Coltrane. who died 25 years ago on 17 July. is an apposite one. since they not only made enormous and hugely influential individual contributions to the path of modern jazz. but also collaborated fruitfully. most notably in one of the classic documents of the era. the 1959 album KinclofB/ue. Stylistically. and perhaps also temperamentally. they were poles apart in the approaches they favoured most. although both had the jazzman‘s natural adaptability to
FROM JAZZ (ilAN'l‘S BY K()K() ABli
Trane and Miles: tribute to the masters the job in hand. Miles was abrasive off-stage and cool on it. preferring the spaciousncss ofmodal jazz over the torrential note-spinning of bop; no better illustration of the difference could be found than in listening back-to-back to Kind of Blue and Coltrane‘s Giant Steps. both released in 1959.
Neither had conventionally beautiful tonal qualities. either. Miles‘s dry. acerbic. but lyrical sound owed much to the Harmon mute which he cultivated from the early 1950s. but the pinched. rather distant quality in his trumpet tone also reflected his liking for the middle register. rather than the stratospheric heights attained by Dizzy Gillespie and his acolytes. ('oltrane sacrificed the traditional warmth of the tenor for higher goals. and there was little room for tonal niceties within the cataclysmic ‘sheets ofsound‘ of his years with the
great 60s quartet. either on tenor or soprano.
Both. though. had an insatiable appetite for musical development. and a driven determination to create
_ their own music. on their own terms. even when it led them into what others saw as blind alleys. Both men found distinctive but equally important routes through the evolutionary changes of the 60s. and redefined the way in which the members ofa jazz ensemble interacted with each other in the process. After Coltrane‘s early death. Miles went on to lay the groundwork for the fusion movement and electric jazz. although his own role within the music remained constant. whatever the context.
The concert devoted to (‘oltrane‘s memory will bring together bands led by two members of that famous quartet. Pianist McCoy'I‘yner will lead his big band. while drummer Elvin Jones brings in the current version of his Jazz Machine. featuring Coltrane‘s son. Ravi. on saxophone. The Miles tribute reunites the other four members of his equally influential (70$ quintet. with Wayne Shorter on saxophone. Herbie Hancock on piano. Ron Carter on bass. and Tony Williams on drums. plus young trumpeter Wallace Roney.
Love and Peace: A Tribute to John
( 'ollrane, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Mon 6. 8pm; A Tribute to Miles Davis. Glasgow Royal ( 'oneer! Hall. Sat 1 l . 8pm.
Carla Bley is the latest in a distinguished line oi composers-in-residence at the Festival, including Benny Carter, Gerry Mulligan, John Surman and George Russell, but she is the iirst to introduce a classical violin soloist into the proceedings. That role will fall to Alexander Balanescu, as the soloist in her Festival commission, tentatively entitled ‘Birds oi Paradise’.
‘The Festival asked me to write a piece tor a nineteen-piece big band, which will be mainly made up oi players trom Scotland, but with some of the soloists from my own band as well, including Gary Valente, Lew Soloit, and Andy Sheppard, as well as Steve (Swallow), Karen (Mantler) and myseli.
“Alex Balanescu got involved because I wanted a violinist who came out oi a classical rather than a jazz tradition of expression, but who would not be put oh by the idea oi playing with a real noisy jazz group oi this size. It wasn’t really a case at adding the solo partto the music, though, because I already had the idea tor the violin part trom something I had tried out in another context, and the major
problem became one at orchestrating the band to fit around the violin. I hope we solved it. . .’
The new piece will have its world premiere performance at the Tramway, but Bley will also be taking part in two other concerts during the week other stay, the tirst in a trio with Steve Swallow and Andy Sheppard, which
year, and the second with the Strathclyde Youth Jazz Orchestra, as well as a public interview (see listings). (Kenny Mathieson)
Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Andy Sheppard, Tramway, Fri 3, 7.30pm (with Paul Motian Trio); Carla Bley and SYJO, Tramway, Sun 5, 7.30pm; Carla Bley and The Stewart Forbes Big Band,
impressed greatlyin Edinburghlast ) Tramway, ThursQ, 7.30pm.
|_ Nu moves
No jazz musician has been more difficult to pin down to a given style or area of the music than trumpeter Don Cherry. The influence ofOrnette (‘oleman has been enormous. and if he has a single base. it must be rooted in llarmolodics. Beyond that. though. lies a whole world ofethnic music. not to mention the odd dabble in punk or funk.
‘()rnette‘s musical concept is a really important part of what has been happening in jazz music for years. and what is happening now. I‘ve been studying his music for a long time in a lot of different groups. and lam still learning about it. but I think it is equally important for me to be aware of what else is going on now. I don‘t want to shut myselfoff from the new things which are happening in all kindsof music.‘
('herry ‘s great strength is that he has absorbed all these influences in a highly open-minded fashion. Consequently. they hase emerged in an organic. natural way within his music. rather than sounding like grafted-on exotica. or simply fashionable chic. As his collaborators constantly affirm. he works towards a full understandingof‘the forms which he appropriates.
His last Scottish visit.
with Multikulti in 1990. reflected the world music aspects of his work. but the band he brings to Glasgow is more of a jazz outfit. Saxophonist (‘arlos Ward and master drummer (and fellow ()rnctte-alumni) Ed Blackwell both featured in an earlier version of Nu. while Bob Stewart will provide an unorthodox bass-line on tuba. (Kenny Mathieson) Don ('herry 's .N'u.
The List 3— 16July 199217
'l'ramway. Fri [0. 7.30pm. J